I am working on pushing through the triggers, as my coach calls it, and I am getting pretty good at it with many of the small triggers. The name of the city where she lives, which is where they consummated their relationship, is a small trigger. At the beginning, it would make me cry just to hear or see the name and sometimes even sent me into a PTSD flashback. But I have built up some scar tissue around that one, and now the name brings back the memory for just a little bit, but like Mad Cow says, I can shrug it off. It is like that with many small triggers, and after a six-year affair with an old flame, there are small triggers everywhere.
The wounds from the big triggers, though, are much deeper and are not yet healed. The wounds keep reopening with the many stupid things my husband has said and done over the past two years. It is all slowly healing, but a series of triggers in a row can still set me back.
What’s a big trigger? I think it’s different for all of us, depending on the emotional attachment to the trigger. One of the biggest for me is “their” song: From This Moment On by Shania Twain. Prior to discovery of their emails, it was one of my favorite old songs. I sang it often. I even sang it on stage a few times back when it was a hit single – yes, back in the day I sang with a band. Lots of fun… and that song always made me think of Daniel and me. I remember the night when he told me that he knew from the moment he first kissed me that he would love me forever. He said that from that moment on, his heart was in my hands. So when that song came out and she sang “From this moment on” I thought it was a perfect reflection of him and me. Then I found their emails and I found the ones where they talked about him singing that song to her the first time they met after reconnecting… how it became their song… how they meant every word for each other… how they quoted from it frequently over the years in all those emails… it killed something inside me. I have not been able to push past it. It used to be guaranteed flashback time if I heard even the first few chords of the song… now it just makes me sad for a while… BIG trigger. At least I haven’t had a full-blown flashback in a while. That’s progress.
Mad Cow’s wife had an affair 20 years ago. He acknowledges that there are still triggers that come up here and there, but he is able to shrug them all off. I look forward to coming to the point where I can shrug off even the big triggers. Not there yet…
Mad Cow is trying to find a way, or maybe something to say, to help me move more quickly through this process. He wants to lighten the load for all of us betrayed spouses so that we don’t have to go through what he went through. He sees it from the other side and he wants to tell us that there is another way to see things. But I don’t know that there is a shortcut to that point. I think we just have to go through it as part of the grieving process. But I am open to suggestion, and I will thoughtfully ponder any advice MC comes up with. I am currently trying to think through what he said about not looking for reassurance, and focusing instead on getting Daniel to talk. It’s one thing to understand it rationally, and another thing to evict those fears from your heart.
Having someone supporting us along the way, though, means so much. Thank you, MC, for being here with us.